Andhra Pradesh

Spike in cases pushes up medicine sales four-fold

People waiting outside a medical shop to purchase medicines in Vijayawada.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

With a spike in COVID-19 cases, the sale of drugs used in treating the infection and immunity boosters has skyrocketed.

Sale of medicines such as paracetamol for fever, immunity boosters like vitamin C tablets and antibiotics, which are used for treatment of sore throat, have increased significantly, courtesy the pandemic.

According to information, the sales have increased by three to four times depending upon factors such as segment of medicine, location of pharmacy shop, and investment. Some of the generic medicines shops that used to do a business of ₹50,000 to ₹70,000 per day have seen a quantum jump with the sales touching ₹2.5 lakh. A few others which were making a business in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000 are now doing a business of not less than ₹15,000 a day.

Similarly, the volume of COVID medicines sales has increased by not less than 25%, industry sources say.

‘Panic’

The surge in the hospitalisation of Coronavirus patients and news reports on shortage of medicines has created “some kind of panic” among the people. People are seen keeping stock as an emergency measure. Most sales are not related to the COVID infection.

“It has become a habit for people to keep a sheet of paracetamol, azithromycin and ecosprin,” says Krishna District Wholesale Drug Trade Association president P. Murali Krishna.

There is growth of about 20% on an average, in the retail medical shops. Those who had procurement and investment capabilities, had seen a growth of 80 to 100%. But, this category of retailers would be 10% of total shops, opines Krishna district Druggist and Chemists Association president S. Prasad.

Krishna District Retail Druggist and Chemists’ Association Secretary M. Sudhakar says the sale of immunity boosters had increased 20 times. There is a surge of 80% in the sale of food supplements, more particularly in generic companies. Several people want to buy medicines without prescriptions from doctors. “We are discouraging such sales,” he says.

The wholesalers and retailers agree that there is a shortage of medicines. Mr. Prasad says that there was a gap of about 5 to 10% between demand and supply, though the manufacturers are stepping up production.

Mr. Murali Krishna opines that it would be easy to overcome the shortage if the people were willing to purchase substitute drugs instead of demanding for a particular brand. For instance, the people want only limcee though many other brands of vitamin C are available, he says.

They say that it was equally important to note that a majority of the sales increase had been in the generic medicine segment, not the ethical and branded medicines. Also, the sale of medicines for diabetes and other ailments remained the same. The surge in volume of sales was solely due to COVID-related drugs, they add.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:50:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/spike-in-cases-pushes-up-medicine-sales-four-fold/article34504539.ece

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